A cafe in central District 1 with a small but diverse menu, plus lively game and music nights. By Chris Mueller. Photos by Fred Wissink.

Above a small clothing shop on Pasteur Street, Geisha Cafe is making the most of its space and central location, by offering a little something for everyone. With only a few tables and sofas on the ground floor in front of racks of clothes (designed by the owner) for sale, Geisha doesn’t seem like much of a café at first. But upstairs, the shop disappears, giving way to a chilled-out atmosphere. During the day the sun shining through a large window at the front of the building warms the whole room, which is further accentuated by deep red carpets and plush seating. But thanks to its board game room upstairs and weekly music nights, the café transforms from a relaxed hangout in the day to a lively venue at night with a growing base of loyal customers.

Its menu, too, has a little something for everyone. Manager Joan Manalang, who studied cooking in Italy, took charge of the café three months ago and has chosen to forgo her fine dining cooking skills for a simpler menu of small mains, snacks and desserts.

The fried chicken and chips (VND 99,000) are definitely on the heartier side of the menu. Presented on a wooden cutting board with a side of mayonnaise and thick-cut chips wrapped in newspaper, this simple comfort food is not an easy find in the city and it doesn’t disappoint.

The chicken kebab and corn fried rice (VND 109,000) and the peppered pork and capsicum fried rice (VND 89,000) are two more filling, yet somewhat healthier, options. The kebabs are well-flavoured, covered in a mix of cumin, curry powder, paprika and cayenne. The spice mix has a light kick, but isn’t too hot or overpowering. For some lighter options, try the rolls with flavours like ham and omelette (VND 75,000) and spinach and cream cheese (VND 85,000)

Before heading to the dessert we wash everything down with a mint and kiwi juice (VND 60,000), one of the many choices off the drink menu, which also has cocktails, beer, tea and Vergnano coffee.

To finish things off, we sample the matcha green tea and chocolate rolls (VND 75,000) with a side of extra matcha powder and strawberry panna cotta (VND 49,000). The soft rolls melt in the mouth and the homemade panna cotta is a light and creamy end to the meal.

The owners are still ironing out the kinks, but the already popular board game room upstairs, mixed with weekly live music, is quickly turning Geisha Cafe into one of the more interesting cafes in town.

Geisha Cafe opens 8am to 10pm

85 Pasteur, D1
08 38 29 40 04

 

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